A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Friday, December 09, 2005

Technology Marries Knitting

My Birthday Gift, Finally

My dear, sympathetic readers already know that my sweetie was away on hurricane relief duty when my birthday rolled around on October 11th. I had kinda hoped he would return with a gift, but the longer we are married, the more he seems to agonize over what would be appropriate. Once every now and then, he will turn up (usually out of sync with any known holiday) with the perfect surprise, but usually we discuss and pick out something for me together. This year, it took much longer than usual... there just wasn't anything I wanted that I hadn't gone and taken care of myself. I did start hankering for a Palm after reading posts on the EZAsPi list (Elaine is really to blame here). Apparently, lots of knitters use PDAs to keep track of their knitting as well as other responsibilities (such as information about your Secret Pal:). As you can see by this photo, I am a scrap-of-paper type, one of those people who carries around a planner, drops it periodically and scatters personal detritus everywhere. I have decided to reform!

I needed to make a presentation at a meeting in Sacramento yesterday, and used it as an excuse to also drag along my husband and get some of our Christmas shopping done. We had a lot of fun at REI, and he loved the visit to Home Depot (he drew his dad this year, the person he learned his own tool mania from, so it was the perfect excuse to roam around glassy-eyed, drooling over tools the same way we approach yarn shops. We will be doing more shopping tomorrow over in Chico, with my DD.

We also managed a stop at the Dollar Tree in Auburn to stock up on art supplies for the preschool children. My staff and I decided to use our winnings from our decorated tree (picture posted below) for Holiday on Main to buy art kits for all of the preschoolers and throw ourselves a party next Thursday, one teacher's last day working for us.

Our last stop was Staples, where I picked up the white device shown next to the keyboard, which promises to be my next best friend in helping me keep track of everything, including my stash and wish list! Looks like I will be busy entering information in it this weekend.

More On Better Pal

I know you are all dying to know what I listed in my Better Pal questionnaire (actually, I am really hoping Santa will read this).

What are your favorite fibers?

Alpaca, mohair, cotton, rayon... what don't I like? Actually, I love most wool too, but just can't wear it right next to my skin, except as socks.

What fibers would end up sitting in your stash until you cleaned house and then be gifted to someone else?

Nasty acrylics, such as Red Heart... then I would be forced to gift them to those charities that insist they only want items made from non-shrinking, washable material (hey, what's wrong with cotton, then?).

Favorite brands?

I guess I am not that picky to insist on only using certain brands; I love Brown Sheep, but am equally fond of similar yarns from regional producers. It's more how the yarn feels and what I want to make with it that determines my choice.

Brands you wouldn't touch if they were the last fibers on earth?

Hmmm... Caron and Red Heart come to mind.

Name a brand or fiber that you've never tried but are dying to try.

Cashmere, Quivit - they have always been out of my price range.

Favorite colors? Least favorite?

Favorites are violets, greens, blues and pink, and also deep garnet red. I despise orange.

What range of yarn weights do you prefer?

Fingering weight through worsted... seldom use aran, bulky, chunky, etc. and have not worked with laceweight much, although I love lace patterns and have a few shawls patterns "in the queue".

What are your favorite needles?

My ebony circulars... I should be honest and admit here that I refuse to knit with straight needles. I use either DPs or circulars for everything I make.

Any yarn/fiber allergies? Any other allergies your pal should know about?

I mentioned not being able to wear wool for items close to delicate skin. I also am allergic to milk products and wheat. I discovered I was also allergic to lanolin when nursing my first child and the midwife gave me lanolin cream for cracked nipples; I had a bad allergic reaction.

What's your favorite thing to knit?

This is a tough one... what don't I like?! I do love lace. I also love the process of felting, although I sometimes get a little distracted or bored trying to get the large item made that will felt into a much smaller one.

What are you knitting now?

I knit pretty rapidly and work on several things at once... have been making hats and washcloths for charity in November, a beanie for myself, DH, son and daughter, two scarves for myself, one lacy and one which is three narrow ribbed tubes that will be braided together in the end, and am rounding up the proper yarn to start a little Norah Gaughan sweater for myself, and that isn't even addressing some of the WIPs lying around. I also just ordered a ruffled lace shawlette pattern I hope to make up in December or January.

Do you spin? If yes, do you use a spindle or a wheel? Do you have the tools to process locks or do you only work with prepared fiber?

I know how to spin, but it takes too much time away from knitting... JMHO

Are you involved in any other crafts?

I make quilts occasionally, know how to crochet, and am plodding away on some scrapbooks for my kiddos. I also spend a fair amount of time with photography and blogging, so have been resisting taking up any new crafts.

Do you celebrate any specific winter holidays?

Christmas and Valentine's Day are the two biggies...

Name your #1 style icon, dead or alive. What is it about him or her that attracts you?

I am going with Robert Redford here, because he is both classic and rustic. Does that make any sense? I can be elegant, maybe about once a year or so, but my lifestyle just doesn't require it much. I prefer the denim and wool (or lace) sort of style, with cowboy boots of course. And, I admire how well he is aging:)

Name something that you want, but just can't get where you live.

Peet's coffee

What is your preferred knitting soundtrack?


Who are your favorite knitting designers?

Meg Swanson, Teva Durham, Deborah Newton, Norah Gaughan

Describe your vision of the perfect knitting publication -- the target audience, the cover, the type of designs featured, etc.

Interweave Knits comes pretty close.. low-key, classy photography, aimed at intermediate to experienced knitters, classic designs, but maybe with trendy details or colors. The cover would feature a thoroughly modern design and list the many wonderful articles I could expect to find inside. There would be a great photo-essay on a cool technique to make knitting go faster/smoother/differently, an article or two on knitwear designers and current fashion, as well as a piece or two on fiber history, along with a couple dozen new designs, since there is usually only one or two I will end up making from a magazine. The design time frame to completion would be from fast to long-term commitment, but no easy beginner stuff.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Name your favorite indulgence.

Very dark chocolate. I do try to avoid all other sugar.

Coffee, tea or no caffeine, please?

I drink decaf most of the time but appreciate really good coffee.

Do you collect anything?

Tiny ceramic pincushions.

Describe a perfect day, from the moment you wake up until you hit the sheets.

I would wake up after it was light, and have plenty of time to do my yoga, feed and love on my burros, then maybe cook up some whole-grain blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, luscious coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice for breakfast. I would be able to fit in a little knitting time over a second cup of coffee, while chatting with my DH, then take a leisurely shower (after which my hair would magically dry and straighten itself instantly, without any effort on my part).

Then, I might take a pleasant part-day hike with the burros, packing a lovely picnic lunch and a small knitting project. I could lounge in the shade (of course the weather would be temperate and not extremely hot, as it usually is around here in summer) and knit while they grazed on grass for an hour or so before returning home (all downhill both directions, of course :)

Upon returning home, I would work a few hours on a more complex lace shawl, while sitting on my porch (I really have one, but here am imagining a large, Southern veranda complete with rocking chairs). I would be able to chat with my sweetie while I knit. As the afternooon wound down, I would think about dinner, perhaps going out to eat someone else's gourmet cooking, perhaps preparing a feast at home. If I decided to dine out, we might take a leisurely backcountry drive that would end at a romantic restaurant with excellent food and ten ales on tap.

I would make time in the evening to read and to knit, and then head off to bed with my honey... the rest is a secret.

Are you open to having your Better Pal interpret your questionnaire answers or would having them stick to what you specifically mentioned make you happier?

I am happy to have my Better Pal use the questinnaire and any other detective work they want to attempt to come up with their own splendid ideas.

Anything else your pal should know about you?

I am casual, have a quirky sense of humor and four twenties kids... love to snowboard in winter, and can't let a day go by without spending at least part of it outdoors, no matter the weather. I usually wear jeans, solid colors and clogs (well, or snowboots or cowboy boots) all winter and spend a lot of my recreational time (which is a pretty tiny percent, really) visiting museums and checking out historic stuff with my sweetie. I work directing a daycare center, and also do grant-writing for our local medical clinic. There are only just over 3,000 people in my whole county. These are some of the unique things about me.


Blogger KnitNana said...

Denim wool and lace! Robert Redford. Boots (I won't say cowboy boots, b/c the toes are too pointed for my aging feet!). The yarn and color preferences, (even NO orange). History, museums, a Southern veranda...knitting, animals, cooking gourmet food, time outside.

Were we separated at birth, Birdsong?

7:42 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

I'm glad you posted your BP questionnaire. I enjoyed reading your answers and getting to know you better!

4:54 AM  
Blogger margene said...

Birdsong! We have so much in common, more than we knew (or maybe we do know and just haven't had a chance to really spend enough time together and find out more).

5:50 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

Wow, yes, a palm pilot. I keep telling myself (it's been...about 17 months since I was gifted mine by my xMIL for saving her computer) that I must use it for more than the alarm clock function! But inputing data is time consuming. I could be knitting or reading! What info. is in it is what my middle school students with nothing better to do during lunch, put in for me...that was a bit back in time too...

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy am I going to have fun with you! It will be a treat to get to know you over the next few months!

Your Better Pal

12:27 PM  

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